Performing magic shows in somebody’s house, even if it’s in Ayala Alabang Village, can be tricky for me.

I’m talking about the part when I change into my costume and secure the doves into body loads.

Usually the host would invite me to use the bathroom for this ritual. However, I’m always leery about accepting the invitation. If you have been inside a millionaire’s bathroom, you would know my reason. A millionaire’s bathroom is studded with imported soap and perfume. If one other guest would filch a bottle, I don’t want to end up on the list of suspects.

So ever since, I have been performing my costuming and body-loading ritual inside my Toyota Corolla, a place not engineered for this purpose. It’s hot and cramp in there. When I come out of the car, I’m usually one disheveled, sweaty mess of a magician.

Things changed for the better since last December when I got my second-hand Starrex van. More spacious and airy, the van affords a comfortable place to change my outfit and set-up my body loads. Sometimes, I don’t even have to change inside the van. All I have to do is raise the rear door all the way up, and I have an instant dressing room.

Last Saturday, though, while doing exactly that, a bodyguard of one of the child guests (his ward was already inside the house partying) came circling around me while I was trying to load up the doves.

With the build of a military person, he was wearing Barong Tagalog and dark glasses. He also had a hand-held two-way radio. His waist bulged with a hard object.

With suspicion written all over his face, he watched me like a hawk while whispering to his radio. Now, if somebody is watching me like a hawk, I couldn’t load the doves.

So I brought my costume and the doves around the van, opened the side door and tried to finish what I was doing from the van’s seat. Meanwhile, I could already hear the MC over the sound system saying, “Kids, go back to your seats. We are going to start the magic show now.”

I hollered to my assistant and told him to tell the MC I wouldn’t be ready for another five minutes.

I was now fast becoming a nervous wreck. I always felt like that when I’m pressed for time. To make matters worse, I couldn’t shake off the bodyguard. First he stood at the rear of the van watching me. When I bent my body to cover what I was doing, he moved to the front of the van and watched me there. When he couldn’t see a thing, he moved closer and watched what I was doing over my right shoulder.

I came this close to losing my temper. I felt I wanted to strangle, cripple, crush, clobber, mangle, disfigure, mutilate, batter, maim, dismember, and castrate him.

I wanted to scream to his face to deliver a mean speech like “What’s wrong, Frankenstein? Can’t you see I’m working here? Do I look like a security risk to you?”

But I’m not mean, so I just smiled.

And what do you know. The “sambitch” also smiled. He smiled an all-teeth smile, baring his fangs.

I thought, “What’s this? Am I in Brokeback Mountain movie?”

Anyway, I was able to load the doves, change my costume, and start the show on time when the MC cued me.

After the show, when I headed back to the van to change back to ordinary clothes, who do you think met me with a werewolf’s smile?

You guessed it. The bodyguard. “Ang galing ng show, Sir!” he said, serving me up with another huge smile as if we were long lost friends.

Have I told you already that I wanted to strangle, cripple, crush, clobber, mangle, disfigure, mutilate, batter, maim, dismember, and castrate him?

Stay magical.